Dog: "Now, how should I play this? If I let on that I know he simply ran around the corner, will that ruin his prank? Yep. Better go the stupid route. 'Oh, no, where can my master have gone!?'"
Below: "I didn't want to do that! ... Stinkin' short leash!"
"To gain their black belts in sea monster hunting, they had to first master the pool phase ..."
The folly of drinking three energy drinks prior to your ping-pong match ...
Tuesday, July 31, 2018: I’m bringing up an algal bayside problem in here -- and not my weekly column. Walt P. first alerted me to a nasty algae/slime(snot grass) bloom in Barnegat Bay, north end, LBI. Adding to that, I’ve seen some closures of B-Bay bayside swimming beaches, which is most likely related to the recent downpours and the related runoff of awful stuff, from fertilizer to fecal matter.
Fecal matter reaching the water is often pet-based. You can’t believe how one un-bagged dog dumping, when rain-flushed bayward, can create a fecal coliform bloom that can literally fan out far and wide -- until some natural force counteracts it in an antibiotic manner. Obviously, a hyper-warmed bay pampers to bacteria and algae growth.
As to any widescale algae bloom, I literally can’t see any signs of the dreaded brown tide. In past blooms, you could literally see off-color water in the bay, especially when driving over the Causeway bridge. Unoddly, it offered a reddish-brown tint. Again, I’m not seeing that. However, the snot grass explosion, north end, is apparently abnormally thick. I have calls into Barnegat Light folk to get their read. That snot grass bloom can also be related to over nutrification of bay water by mankind.
Per usual, it’s impossible for me to stay locally focused, especially with what’s happening in southwest Florida, which is seeing one of the worst red tides in a decade – and on-line to become the worst red tide in ages.
While I can’t stand seeing photos of dead dolphins and tons of sea turtle, I’m most put off by the huge groupers that are now bloating out on the beach.
I’ll scientifically note that red tides are an annual and highly natural summer occurrence for the waters off the Sunshine State. It is caused by Karenia brevis. What differentiates this alga from, say, our own brown algae, Aureococcus anophagefferens, is how it is rarely fueled by nutrient excesses caused by pollution. The blooms develop anywhere from 10 to 50 miles offshore, beyond the effects of land-based effluence. Its growth intensity is likely related to the warmth of surface water. Winds are one of the prime steerers of blooms. (A photo of the red tide bloom in Southwest Florida (Photo: Facebook))
As to the red tides now holding firm in the waters off Florida’s Gulf beaches, I’ll go a bit meteorological by noting that this entire year to date, the famed and powerful Bermuda high pressure systems have been settling in further east than usual. This has even shown in our current unstable midsummer weather. I’m suggesting the clockwise flow around those more easterly highs is producing weaker winds off western Florida, allowing algae blooms to expand toward the Sunshine State.
Expectedly, there are those who are affixing climate change to this bang-up bloom. And maybe I already have through my mention of warm surface water. However, it should be recognized that hundreds of years of written and anecdotal (Native American) history speaks of countless red tide blooms, some seemingly putting the current one into a mere also-ran category.
While red tides are an oceanic thing, there’s absolutely no doubt that the toxic freshwater blue-green algal blooms currently originating in Lake Okeechobee are being transferred into the Gulf, via so-called “controlled water releases” of flood waters from the lake. Over nutrification of those blood-warm Okeechobee waters is almost fully the fault of mankind, most noticeably fertile runoff from the nearby citrus-growling industry.
Back to us, I’m very interested to hear of any unusual vegetative or algal growths in the bay. With the bay shallowing, there’s no guessing what might pop up.
As to ridding ourselves of any 2018 bayside algal blooms – and wait until you get a load of this one – global warming could be leading us to bitter cold winters. It has to do with the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).
While I truthfully understand the physics of this oceanic mechanism, I’ll lazily use the words of www.theverge.com, which offers the headline, “Climate change may shut down a current that keeps the North Atlantic warm.”
It reads, “Both Europe and North America are warmed in the winter by currents circulating in the Atlantic — but climate change threatens this source of warmth. If the Earth warms too much, it’s possible that this current could collapse entirely, new research says. That would mean frigid winters for countries along the North Atlantic …”
“(AMOC) is like a conveyer belt that brings warm water from the tropics to the cooler reaches of the North Atlantic. There, the water loses its heat to the atmosphere. Because water gets denser as it gets colder, it sinks. This lower band of cool water circulates back to the tropics where it warms and repeats the process all over again.”
Harkening back to my original theme, icy winters are the kiss of death for algae blooms. Baymen have long thought of wickedly cold winters as bay purifiers. So, if the AMOC elevator breaks down, we’ll be stepping into global-warming winters of Ice Age caliber cold.
Red Tide and Hurricane Irma Affecting Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Season
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Naples Daily News] by Adam Friedman - July 31, 2018
Turning off lights, identifying nests and monitoring beaches are just some of the things Collier County does to protect the endangered sea turtle population during its nesting season.
But with the red tide bloom still persistent and last year's devastating hurricane season, there is only so much the county can do.
Since the beginning of the year, 79 sea turtles have been found dead on Collier's shores.
"I'm sure red tide has had some effect on the nesting," said Maura Kraus, sea turtle expert for Collier County. "Before the season a lot of the large loggerhead turtles were washing up stranded on shore, and if each turtle nests four times a year, that could significantly reduce overall nest totals."
When sea turtles emerge to nest, they can breathe in the red tide toxin, which can cause them to get sick and make it harder for them to protect themselves from predators.
The red tide was particularly bad last week. On July 23 and 24, four dead sea turtles were found on Collier beaches, according to Kraus.
This year over 1,400 turtle nests have been laid on Collier County beaches, and 101 nests have hatched.
Those numbers are on track to pass last year's totals. But 2017's nesting season was cut short by Hurricane Irma, which washed away 196 nests.
This year's washed-away data isn't available yet, Collier County doesn't compile lost nest numbers until the end of nesting season.
For the fifth straight year, the number of disoriented baby sea turtles reached double digits in Collier County.
"A huge part of the disorientations this year are actually caused by Irma," said Roger Jacobsen, beach monitor for the city of Naples. "There used to be a landscape buffer that covered up some of the lights, but that, along with some of the turtle-safe lighting, was destroyed."
Half of the disoriented baby sea turtles were on Naples beaches.
Baby sea turtles are supposed to follow the moon's light toward the Gulf. But light pollution from homes and condos on the beach has caused the turtles to become disoriented, making them crawl away from the beach and preventing them from getting the food and water they need to survive.
In an effort to mitigate that effect, Collier County mandates that any place that uses outdoor lighting within 300 feet of the Gulf must put in low-intensity lighting with reflective covers so it can't be seen from the beaches.
"If you own a home on the beach, you know the rules," Kraus said. "We've been working on informing people for 30 years."
At night, homes on the beach are supposed to close their blinds and turn off all outdoor lighting that faces the water. But a lot of the beach homes are rented out in the summer, which means more tourists and more uninformed people on the beaches at night.
"It's been one of the hardest years," Jacobsen said. "We aren't out there every night, but when we are, there are always multiple issues with people using their phone camera to walk at night or look at the nest."
Any kind of unnatural light can affect the already slim chances of survival sea turtles have – only 1 in 1,000 baby turtles makes it to adulthood.
Your fish may contain banned toxic chemicals - study
Workers clean salmon carcasses on a cleaning line at a salmonera company, south of Santiago March 5, 2009. /REUTERS
Salmon in supermarkets across the US and the UK may contain banned toxic chemicals linked with developmental problems in children, a new study warns.
While we are all encouraged to eat wild-caught fish, many end up with farmed produce - and some stores have even been accused of putting 'wild' labels on farmed fish.
As a result, since 2004 the US and most of Europe have been working to eliminate a certain chemical called PDBE from all waters - of both farmed and wild fish - because they can disrupt hormones and cause developmental effects in the people who consume them.
However, a new study by the University of Pittsburgh has found evidence of PBDEs in food fed to farmed salmon - even in those in supposedly PBDE-free environments.
The chemicals were detected at such high concentrations that lead author Dr Carla Ng warns it could be reaching our plates.
"The international food trade system is becoming increasingly global in nature and this applies to animal feed as well," Dr Ng said.
"Fish farming operations may import their feed or feed ingredients from a number of countries, including those without advanced food safety regulations."
Dr Carla Ng, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, said: "The United States and much of Europe banned several PBDEs in 2004 because of environmental and public health concerns.
"PBDEs can act as endocrine disruptors and cause developmental effects. Children are particularly vulnerable."
Restrictions were placed on PDBEs in 2004.
But, despite restrictions on their use, PBDEs were classed as 'persistent organic pollutants' at the Stockholm Convention, an international environmental treaty, in 2009.
Dr Ng's paper said they continue to be found in areas that process large amounts of electronic waste and with poor recycling regulation such as China, Thailand and Vietnam.
As a result, salmon grown in environments free of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) could still contain dangerous amounts of the chemical as a result, according to the findings.
Farmers, Dr Ng warns, could be using feed that contains a type of synthetic flame retardant imported from countries "without advanced food safety regulations".
Her paper, which presented new models on how the chemical enters food chains, shows it could also affect feed for cattle and sheep as well.
Conventional models to predict human exposure to pollutants mostly look people's risk from their local environment.
But Dr Ng's model takes into account factors to find 'the best predictor' of PBDEs in farmed salmon.
These included pollutants inhaled through gills, how the fish metabolized and eliminated pollutants, and the concentration of pollutants in the feed.
She said: "We found that feed is relatively less important in areas that already have high concentrations of pollutants in the environment.
"However, in otherwise clean and well-regulated environments, contaminated feed can be thousands of times more significant than the location of the farm for determining the PBDE content of salmon fillets."
She added the model could be applied in other fish with large global markets such as tilapia or red snapper and to predict pollutant content in livestock or feeds produced in contamination "hot spots".
She added: "Hot spots are places identified as having high levels of pollutants
"As these chemicals circulate through the environment, much ends up in the ocean. It's extremely important to pay attention to the sourcing of ocean commodities and areas where pollutant concentrations are particularly high."
She hopes her model will help create better "contamination control strategies" such as substituting fish oils for plant-based materials or decontaminating fish oil before human consumption.
CDC Releases Data on Foodborne Disease Outbreaks and Illnesses Between 2009-2015
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - July 31, 2018
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released data collected on foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States between 2009 and 2015.
According to the government agencies, known foodborne disease agents cause an estimated 9.4 million illnesses each year. However, only a small number of those illnesses are associated with outbreaks. In the seven years that the CDC looked at, the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS) received reports of 5,670 outbreaks. Those outbreaks resulted in 100,939 illnesses, 5,699 hospitalizations, and 145 deaths.
Breaking down the data, 2,442 of the 5,670 outbreaks recorded between 2009 and 2015 were found to be related to food. The data found that of the 2,442, only 1,281 outbreaks could be narrowed down to a single food category. Fish was linked to 222 outbreaks, or 17% of the single food category outbreaks.
Fish was actually the most commonly implicated in the food category, with dairy following at 11% and chicken at 10%. But with that said, chicken had more outbreak-associated illnesses with 1,941 related to salmonella. According to the CDC, scombroid toxin and ciguatoxin outbreaks from fish “resulted in 519 outbreak-associated illnesses, an average of three illnesses per outbreak.”
Looking at fish, crustaceans, mollusks and “other aquatic animals,” the total number of outbreaks jumps to 344, or 27%. Those outbreaks resulted in 2,288 illnesses in the span of seven years, or 9%. In comparison, the total number of outbreaks for land animals, including dairy, eggs, beef, pork and chicken, came in at 565, or 44%. Land animal outbreaks were linked to 13,709 illnesses, or 52%.
You can find the full report from the CDC here.
Senate Once Again Approves September 25 as National Lobster Day
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - July 31, 2018
There is never a bad time to celebrate lobster and Maine's U.S. Senators, Angus King and Susan Collins, are keen to agree. Senators King and Collins have successfully submitted a resolution for September 25, 2018 to be dubbed as National Lobster Day — not to be confused with the pre-existing nationally recognized Lobster Day celebrated on June 15.
This is not the first time that lobster has been honored on September 25. According to National Day Calendar, the September celebration has been occurring since 2014, which is the first year that Senators King and Collins submitted a joint resolution to designate the date National Lobster Day. The designated day is not only meant to honor lobster as a delicious seafood dish, but shine light on their historical and economical significance, as well as the hardworking people who work within the industry.
The resolution for this upcoming September was introduced to the Senate on July 30, 2018, and approved the same day according to GovTrack. Senators King and Collins released a joint statement about National Lobster Day prior to the resolution’s approval: “The lobster industry has always been a special part of Maine’s economy, history, and character. Lobsters are an economic force in coastal Maine communities and have supported the livelihoods of generations of lobstermen, processors, and dealers. In addition, this shellfish has become a Maine icon, with an international reputation that plays an important role in attracting millions of visitors to our state each summer. We’re proud to introduce this resolution honoring not only the lobster, but the thousands of Mainers who work day-in and day-out to harvest, cook, and ship our state’s prized catch. We look forward to celebrating this important day in September!”
September 25 for National Lobster Day is especially significant for the state of Maine, more so than the day celebrated in June, because the date is in tune with the heart of the industry. It is celebrated in early fall when catch is historically the best for Maine lobstermen.
"Most people don't know that the best time to enjoy a Maine Lobster is during late summer and fall, which is why we celebrate National Lobster Day on September 25th," Maine lobsterman Dave Cousens said in the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative's National Lobster Day press release last year. "It's important to us that we bring attention to our industry during the time when our catch is at its highest."
Photo Credit: Stephen Best/ Flickr
Fishermen and Others Hit By Tariffs Would Need $27.2 Billion Emergency Aid Package
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Hill] by Vicki Needham - July 31, 2018
A new U.S. Chamber of Commerce analysis found that providing similar aid to all sectors affected by President Trump's tariffs would cost U.S. taxpayers $39 billion.
The Trump administration last week announced a $12 billion emergency aid package for the nation's farmers who are taking a hard hit from retaliatory tariffs unloaded by China, Mexico, Canada and other trading partners because of the president's imposition of tariffs.
The Chamber's analysis shows that on top of the $12 billion that could be doled out to farmers as early as this fall, another $27.2 billion would be needed to help other sectors such as fishermen, cotton and fabric manufacturers and makers of steel and aluminum.
After Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the agriculture aid last week, the Chamber decided to determine how much it would cost to provide a similar level of aid to each industry affected by the budding trade war.
"While America’s agricultural industry has been hit extremely hard by escalating tariffs, it’s not alone," said Neil Bradley, the Chamber's executive vice president and chief policy officer.
“The administration’s focus should be expanding free trade and removing these harmful tariffs, not allocating taxpayer’s money to only marginally ease the suffering for some of the industries feeling the pain of the trade war," Bradley said.
Bradley said "offering a bailout to any single industry is a slippery — and costly — slope."
Farm groups have said they want more open foreign markets to sell their products, not aid to bolster their businesses while the tariffs remain in place.
Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the Trump administration wasn't planning to offer aid to any other sectors of the economy.
In an exchange with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) Lighthizer said "it is the view of the administration that agriculture has been particularly targeted by retaliation as a result of the kinds of actions we're doing to try to level the playing field."
"So you're not contemplating that kind of assistance for other small businesses that are being hurt by this trade war?" Shaheen asked.
"Not at this time, no," Lighthizer responded.
Japan to Propose Bluefin Tuna Catch Quota Increase At WCPFC Meeting
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Japan News] - July 31, 2018
The government plans to propose raising catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna -- a popular component of high-grade sushi -- in September, following an international body's recent estimate that it is feasible to increase catches by up to about 15 percent from 2019, thanks to a recovery in the stock.
Overfishing has drastically declined bluefin stock to about 10 percent of its peak level of 168,125 tons in 1961. Since 2015, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission has set caps on catches to strengthen the management of the resource. The commission has 26 member countries and regions, including Japan and the United States.
The WCPFC has set a mid-term target of increasing stocks of adult Pacific bluefin tuna weighing 30 kilograms or more, from the latest estimate of about 21,000 tons to 43,000 tons in 2024. At the same time, the commission has adopted a policy of allowing higher catch quotas once the probability of achieving the target reaches 70 percent or more.
An international organization comprising experts in such fields as fishery survey announced in mid-July that the probability of achieving the target would be 74 percent if total catches -- which combine small-sized fish weighing less than 30 kilograms and large ones of 30 kilograms or larger -- increase by 15 percent from 2019.
This has led Tokyo to plan to propose increasing catch quotas at a September committee meeting of the WCPFC in Fukuoka Prefecture, in the hope of obtaining understanding from respective countries and regions. The government is working out details of the proposal, such as a specific increase in catch quotas for both small and adult fish.
Bluefin tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean accounts for 60 percent of the Japan market. The nation's catch quota is set at 4,007 tons for small fish -- about half of the average in previous years -- and 4,882 tons for adult fish, which is equivalent to this category's average.
Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have also plunged due to overfishing, but strict regulations -- such as prohibiting fishing small ones in principle -- have subsequently been successful, resulting in a decision to raise catch quotas.